1. No Age –Favorite Show: Chum’s Coffeehouse (3/10/12)
2. Nobunny – Favorite Show: Living Bread (9/21/12)
3. Ty Segall – Favorite Show: The Well (9/22/12) 4. Fat Creeps – Favorite Show: Moe’s Lounge (8/10/12) 5. Atlantic Thrills – Favorite Show: Great Scott (12/3/12) 6. Thee Oh Sees – Favorite Show: The Well (9/22/12) 7. The Migs – Favorite Show: Wilder Zangcraft (11/24/12) 8. Slimers – Favorite Show: Great Scott (12/18/12) 9. Mark Sultan –Favorite Show: Starlab (12/8/12) 10. Colleen Green – Favorite Show: Middle East Upstairs (9/9/12)
Bands: No Age, Make It Up Venue: Cholmondley’s Coffeehouse aka CHUM’s, Brandeis University (Waltham, MA) Date: Saturday, March 10, 2012
Act One:Make It Up – Starting the evening off right were these guys — a local four piece playing their second show ever (or so I heard right before they began playing). They rocked harder than the human mind might have originally suspected. In some ways similar to their counterparts tonight, there was at first ambiance characterized by lightly strummed guitars and sparse drumming. This didn’t last very long at all. The sound got louder and louder and eventually reminded me of Fugazi. The singer/guitarist seemed most passionate in contrast to the gentle playing of the bassist, lead guitarist, and drummer. He made great use of his lone pedal, which when stepped on produced heavy distortion and (thanks in part to the other dudes) no rhythym was lost. There was one song that I thought was a Fugazi cover, but it could have easily been a New Order or Joy Division song…or simply an original. Either way, this was a highlight. So three or four songs in, a man approaches the stage and tells the singer: “You’ve got 5 minutes left!” Singer is astonished at this situation; the band has seemingly been on stage for a shorter span than their sound check an hour earlier! Well, Daylight Savings came a few hours early for this gentleman as the band ended up playing for another ten minutes, the rough equivalent to two songs. The band, absent a member apparently, put these moments to the best use they could and the result seemed to be an increasingly pumped up crowd.
Act Two:No Age Glen– Shows like these seem to come once every three years for me. I shouldn’t really say shows, though. These are more like profound experiences. Journeys into the unknown. What am I talking about? Chum’s at Brandeis University is a peculiar place. We KLYAM folk had never ventured into this territory and probably never anticipated doing so. It felt just like April 2009 when we ventured to Wellesley College to see this very band – NO AGE — in a small rec room intended for the head bobbing and jumping around of students and guests of that institution. Being outsiders has its perks…namely unfamiliarity. All pre-show bullshit aside, we were here for one of our favorite bands, No Age. I don’t toss around ‘favorite’ lightly. These guys really are and five No Age shows later this fact is ever so evident to me. Dean and Randy walked onto the raised platform, took their usual spots, and all seemed to be well…except Dean’s voice was not being heard through his microphone! No big deal for the audience as Randy was already strumming and stepping on some pedals to generate atmospheric sounds that resembled the best of Weirdo Rippers in that department. Low and behold, about five minutes later, a switcharoo of microphones took place and the band was about to get into the kind of shit that would activate the audience into a frenzy. And so began the frenzy after eight noisy strums from Randy and Dean’s battering of his drum set. This was “Ripped Knees” folks, a classic from No Age’s 2008 LP Nouns. The moshing was rampant and active. So was the back of the room initiated crowd surfing and failed mini stage dive attempts. Damn, every one was having so much fun! The slower parts of songs meant less intensity from the audience, but damn I tell you nobody was going to let a minute and a half of waves crashing get the best of them on Rippers fave “Every Artist Needs a Tragedy.” The crowd erupted in chaotic joy once the distortion and vocals kicked in. Whether it was bumping into people, falling onto the ground, singing into an unplugged microphone, or doing whatever, the fans of No Age on this night brought their A-game. All thanks to Dean and Randy, of course! There were just so many moments of grandeur throughout the set. The cover homage to somewhat local legend GG Allin (“Don’t Talk To Me”) assisted by Aviram Cohen of Silk Flowers brought back fine memories of when those three did the same thing at the Middle East in November 2008. “Fever Dreaming,” which drew the biggest reaction by far was just incredible. About half way through, I thought Dean shouted to Randy “one more,” but really it was “Boy Void” and what a good thing that was! We also got a taste of some new material. From my standpoint, the awesomeness factor hardly waned with the introduction of these songs. The sole exception was during one of the new ones, which was a far reaching overdrive of noise and drum bashing. I didn’t know whether to blame my shot ears or the speaker system. Either way, no big deal! I’ve got mention as always my absolute favorites that were played: “Teen Creeps,” “Here Should Be My Home,” and “Brain Burner.” Also this time around, I really enjoyed “Chem Trails” from 2010’s Everything in Between. If this doesn’t go down in history as one of my favorite live experiences, I’m not really sure what does. I’m sure a good chunk of the audience would also stack this right on top of the best of ’em. I’ve seen some great ones over the years, but there’s something about a No Age show that continually leaves me amazed (and hard of hearing).
Chris DeCarlo– No Age is one of the originals for us. For the KLYAM, it was not until mid to late ’09 when we started to get into 90% of the stuff we dig now, we simply never came across most of it. But, No Age, on the other hand, has been with us since July ’08 and since then we have held them near and dear. I know for readers who are much older than us (we’re 21) talking about 2008 and 2009 with nostalgia probably sounds stupid, but honestly as Glen expressed, it feels like ages ago. At the time, No Age was unlike anything I had ever experienced before, both live and on record. They were and still are able to communicate with their fans on a level most other artists never reach. As brilliant as No Age is, they almost come off to me as your local punk rock band playing in a basement for their friends. I don’t mean this in a disparaging way at all, in fact, it’s a trait sadly few other bands at No Age’s level possess. There’s this humble quality to them that other artists have seemed to have lost, whether intentionally or not. In a weird way, I have always seen No Age as another version of the Black Lips. Think about it! Both bands at heart play rock and roll with an emphasis on passion over musicianship that is articulated through their unending devotion to fun and positivity. I know what your thinking, “you could say that about a million bands,” and you’re right, but if you feel the way I do, you know you can’t point to any other bands and feel the same way. And so after journeying through an elaborate looking castle and finally stumbling upon Chum’s, a relatively small space, I knew No Age would kill it as always. That energy I spoke of earlier spread through the room instanteaneously. Sure, the sound wasn’t perfect, but I would rather spend 60 minutes bomping back and forth into bodies and falling on the floor whilst Dean and Randy unleash noisy classic after classic than stand in a stadium and hear a nice clean, clear set; of course I would have to gaze through my binoculars to see the drummer creating those fine drum beats instead of nearly crashing my skull into Dean’s drums! It’s funny, I love watching people react to shit. For example, if I have a crush on a girl in one of my classes, I love to see what makes her laugh or cringe or whatever. During live shows, I often observe the performers to see how they react to the crowd. Alas, most performers don’t seem to show their emotions in this way or at least I don’t see it, but with No Age this is not the case. One of my favorite moments from the evening was during (I believe) “Fever Dreaming,” when everyone was basically going nuts (in a good way) and one girl was having the time of her life crowd surfing to the point that she was hanging on to the bars attached to the ceiling and when I turned my head to the band, I saw Dean smirking and it just made me smile. I could see in his eyes, he was loving the way the crowd was reacting to his music, just a great shared moment. Not to beat a dead horse, but I also notice this with Ian St. Pe at Black Lips shows. Just an appreciation of joy and music. Moments like these seem to come more often at smaller, more intimate venues and let me just say for a band as visible as No Age, for them to be playing a little venue nearly four years into their “indie stardom” (I hate those phrases hence the quotation marks) is admirable and rare. Not to say playing a bigger venue is a bad thing, I don’t mean to say that makes any other band of their status lesser for playing bigger and/or more conventional venues, good for them, the more the merrier! But, as a fan, it is incredible to experience these up close and personal shows with one of my favorite mid-level bands, a feat I can’t say about any other artist I know. Five shows deep it has been and will continue to be a great experience with No Age. Regardless of the venue, here should be my home.
1. “Union Song” – The Nightwatchman – I haven’t listened to this guy in a year, at least. This is a refreshing song, not one of his best, but politically meaningful at least.
2. “Pick Yourself Down” – Gangbang Gordon – (Warning: this is my own song). I wrote this song on a night that I just wanted to write a song. I made a decent chord progression and then just ad-libbed for five minutes. So lyrically it’s a piece of shit…example: “Might as well call your lawyer. Take a seat in the foyer. If you think you’re gonna wait long, better write a fuckin’ song to help you through the times, to help you un-wind, amount of stress you’re in it’s not even worth telling your kin.” Yeah, for real. One more example, if I may: “She doesn’t get English. She was born in Spain. Bilingual education won’t even give her a reign. All she is is hot, I ain’t talkin’ looks. Just look at her face, you will give her a book. She ain’t nothin’ but a reader. She ain’t nothin’ but Aretha. When she stretches her chords.” Okay, I’ll stop. If anyone wants to listen to this song, let me know.
3. “Hippys” – Black Lips – One of their best non-album tunes. I like its southern country punk slime like a Sherman in a Suuuuuueeeeeeeeebaaaaaahhhhhhruuuuuuueee.
4. “Red Red Wine” – UB40 – Also another song that I don’t play too much. It gives me too much ’90s nostalgia. Good and bad. Usually bad things were associated with song like the show COPS. I definitely appreciate it, though.
5. “Hang On, Siobhan” – The Walkmen – A downer of a song. Beautifully written and meaningful. Nice if I want to get all introspective and shit, but I rarely do.
6. “Losing Feeling” – No Age – I bumped this heavy last year around this time, I think. One of the most ambient-yet-catchy No Age songs pre-Everything In Between. The sped up punk towards the end is pure awesomeness.
7. “Imagine Pt. 3” – The Smith Westerns – I added this song on a limb a couple of weeks ago. They are similar to Magic Kids (at least on this song), but more British and Beatles sounding. Also, pretty MGMT like. I do like this. Not so sure their debut album stuck out, but this next one is shaping up to be a little better. We’ll see.
Bands: Needy Visions, Lucky Dragons, No Age Venue: Middle East Downstairs (Cambridge, MA) Date: Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Act One – Needy Visions – Now, I really liked Needy Visions. The lead singer and guitarist was very Boston. He and his crew were very passionate. I always like that. “Fuck the System” showcased the best of these guys. A jovial keyboard riff contrasted the passionate vocals. Props to the bass player who really brought the funk. Props to the drummer and the other guitarist as well as they also contributed to the sound and overall “funk” of the band. They aren’t really your typical garage rock or punk band by any stretch of the imagination. They are more rooted in fun beats and tight rhythms. It’s cool.
Chris: Glen summed up most of my points, but he perhaps loved them more than I did. They were entertaining though and I recommend y’all check em’ out. They are playing at the Whitehaus this Friday (November 19).
Act Two – Lucky Dragons – I’ve seen a few groups that possess a very similar style to Lucky Dragons. For those who aren’t familiar with Lucky Dragons, it was one guy — Luke Fischbeck — with a laptop and a few other toys. He played some ambient music that was at least partially based on crowd interaction. He handed about ten CDs to people at the front of the stage. There was a projector and a box on the stage. At first, I didn’t quite get the concept of the CDs, but I quickly realized that when somebody flashes the CD on top of the box and in front of the projector, a unique sound is produced on the PA. This was fun for about three minutes. In the background of the stage there was a pretty constant slow motion projection video of what looked like mansions. At some point, Luke handed some of us pieces of paper with lyrics. He repeated about half of what was on the sheet. About ten minutes later his set was over. I always feel bad for people that do experimental sets like this. Since the music is pretty constant, a lot of people were bandying about for the duration of the set. They treated this art form as background music. I can’t really blame the talkers since this experience is rather obscure and awkward for first-timers and those otherwise unfamiliar with such art.
Chris:: Yeah, this aint my bag, but like Glen said at least we were not simply spectators and instead had a chance to participate in the process.
Act Three – No Age – Wow, where to begin?! No Age, simply stated, has been amongst my favorite bands — live and on record — for the past couple of years. Their all-ages show at the Middle East Downstairs in July 2008 marked my first real concert experience. It’s funny because I only stumbled upon No Age by accident. I was looking on the Middle East website to see if The Walkmen were playing. They weren’t — yet — but I noticed something else: pretty much every show listed was 18+, except this one band No Age was playing an all-ages show. “Wow, this is awesome” I thought. So I checked them out on YouTube and really liked what I heard. The rest is history. Flash forward nearly two and a half years later. I’ve seen them four times and each of their shows has topped their previous performance. Incredible. Three full-length albums and one EP deep, No Age had a lot more material to showcase than they did on that hot July 2008 night. They started this night off with “Life Prowler” off of their latest LP Everything In Between. Following that they rushed into a familiar classic “Teen Creeps” from 2008’s Nouns. From the opening notes of this, the crowd erupted into a frenzy. A frenzy that’s never been known to really let up. Smiles were plastered on everyone’s faces. Some people decided to crash into others. Others held onto the stage — or strangers next to them — for dear life. The 21+ crowd in the bar section looked on, with some snapping photographs. Whatever the case, it’s all about the music with No Age. The punk rock spirit and excitement that comes from the drum kit of Dean Spunt and guitar of Randy Randall is unparalleled. After “Teen Creeps,” we got a little taste of everything from the ambient-turned-explosively catchy noise classic “Every Artist Needs a Tragedy” from Weirdo Rippers to the sample heavy power number “You’re a Target” off of their Losing Feeling EP to “Chem Trails” and “Fever Dreaming” — the best of the best off Everything In Between. Meshed additionally in the set were other excellent tracks off Nouns and Everything. One especially great moment was when the sweat from Dean’s drum kit flew into the air as he started pounding his floor tom and snare drum in the opening seconds of “Glitter”. After the end of their near hour long set, the crowd took a breather (realizing just how much we were sweating) before welcoming the band back on stage. Chris might have been expecting another “Don’t Talk To Me” G.G. Allin cover, but instead they performed Black Flag’s “Six Pack” to a T with the singer of Needy Visions joining them up on stage. They closed the set with Nouns closer “Brain Burner”. What more could we ask for?! Some high fives from Dean and Randy? No need to ask. These fine gentlemen do that kind of thing automatically. This show was about as fun as shows come. It was the kind of show that I’ll always be able to reminisce. Being able to talk to Dean after the show was a pleasure. He took the time to sit on stage and interact with concert-goers after it was all over. This is exemplary. It shows he isn’t some music celebrity, but rather a really nice guy playing really nice music. Hope to see you back again soon, No Age!
Chris: Easily one of the best bands I have seen live, perhaps the Black Lips are the only other band I would say has topped them for me. Dean and Randy are masters of high energy without coming off as typical Rock Stars that try way too hard to get a crowd going. With these dudes, the music simply speaks for itself. They played more than half of my favorites as well as some other killer tunes, plenty of cuts from the new LP. I always dig their references to old school Hardcore and this time around I loved their rendition of Black Flag’s “Six Pack.” Dean went so far as to include the classic closing lines, “What do they know about partying or ANYTHING ELSE?!” Another classic moment was the long, but amazing build up in “Every Artist,” we waited in anticipation for that awesome moment when Randy swinged his guitar around and kicked right into the heavy part of the number and of course the crowd went crazy. Speaking of which, this was one of my favorite mosh pits, as always with No Age. Can’t wait to see them again! Modern day DIY Punk at its finest.
No Age Set-List [No Order]
– “Life Prowler” – “Teen Creeps”
– “Every Artist Needs A Tragedy”
– “Sleeper Hold”
– “You’re A Target”
– “Chem Trails”
– “Shred And Transcend”
– “Valley Hump Crash”
– “Fever Dreaming”
———– Encore ———-
– “Six Pack” [ Black Flag Cover]
– “Brain Burner”
1. “Miner” – A 2. “Eraser” – A+ 3. “Teen Creeps” – A++ 4. “Things I Did When I Was Dead” – A 5. “Cappo” – A+ 6. “Keechie” – A- 7. “Sleeper Hold” – A++ 8. “Errand Boy” – A- 9. “Here Should Be My Home” – A++ 10. “Impossible Bouquet” – A- 11. “Ripped Knees” – A++ 12. “Brain Burner” – A++
Comments: Truly one of the more outstanding records that the 2000s saw. It exemplifies the power of a near-perfect meshing of raw punk, noise, and melodic pop. The first three songs all have their heavy moments and these heavy moments define this record. Even a softer, more atmospheric number like “Things I Did” serves as a terrific change of pace tune. No Age can pull this off so effectively. An even more ambient tune is “Keechie.” From reading KLYAM you guys have probably figured out ambient usually isn’t my thing, but meaningful and fitting ambiance is a rare art. No Age produces rare art. The five tunes that I gave A++’s too. Those are all-time favorite heavy hitters. Check ’em.